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Abstrax's Principal Scientist Dr. Iain Oswald Wins the ElSohly Award for Discovery of “The Gas” Compounds in Cannabis

National American Chemical Society Celebrates Oswald’s Groundbreaking Findings and Their Implications for the Future of the Cannabis Industry

TUSTIN - April 26, 2023 - Abstrax is excited to announce that Iain Oswald, PhD, its Principal Research Scientist, has been awarded the prestigious ElSohly Award in Cannabis Chemistry research for the discovery of a new class of volatile sulfur compounds responsible for the characteristic gassy, skunky aroma produced by cannabis. Oswald received the award on March 21 at the National American Chemical Society in Indianapolis via the Cannabis Chemistry Subdivision (CANN). 

“We are exceedingly proud of our principal research scientist, Iain, for his shared passion, dedication and hard work,” said Max Koby, Co-Founder and CEO of ABSTRAX. “Iain’s drive for exploring the chemical properties of cannabis and propensity for thinking outside the box is a catalyst for driving ABSTRAX to innovate game-changing discoveries, products and services.”

At the award ceremony, Oswald was invited to give a presentation detailing his research, which saw ABSTRAX uncover an entirely new family of compounds responsible for the cannabis’ gassy, skunky scent. Using 2-Dimensional gas chromatography (2DGC) coupled with mass spectrometry, flame ionization detection, and sulfur chemiluminescence, the team discovered key volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) – organic compounds containing sulfur – that directly correlate to the pungent aroma of cannabis rather than terpenes as previously believed. The ubiquity and importance of these compounds in cannabis have since led the authors to coin this class of compounds as Cannasulfur Compounds (CSCs).

“I’m thrilled that ABSTRAX’s discoveries have been noticed and appreciated,” said Dr. Oswald. “It’s important to note that this is just the beginning – there are numerous other cannabis compounds waiting to be identified and potential therapeutic benefits to be discovered.”

CANN was founded in 2015 to build a home within the American Chemical Society for cannabis chemists. The organization established the ElSohly Award in honor of Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly, a legendary cannabis chemist scientist who has made countless contributions to the field. The award provides researchers, students, and industry professionals with resources to present their work at the ElSohly Award Symposium annually at the Spring American Chemical Society National Meeting. Along with Oswald, the three other 2023 award recipients include Nick Jikomes, PhD, Director of Science & Innovation for Leafly; Brodie Thomson, Chemistry Ph.D. candidate at the University of British Columbia; and Dr. Nirit Bernstein, Research Scientist at the Agricultural Research Organization.

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Leveraging its proven background in cannabis research, ABSTRAX is the leader in the research, development, and production of botanically-derived and cannabis-inspired terpenes that create unforgettable sensorial experiences. Headquartered in California, the company owns and operates a state-of-the-art type 7 licensed research and manufacturing lab where it’s award-winning product developers and scientists leverage the most advanced strain analysis technology to extract and study aroma compounds via three-dimensional analysis, allowing for each and every compound within a plant to be named and studied. The company has partnered with many of the best cultivators in the industry to study their cannabis profiles and create the world's most advanced terpene formulations. As a result of its efforts, ABSTRAX offers the largest terpene catalog of the most popular strains - botanically-derived terpene blends and isolates native to cannabis. These ingredients, also known as functional flavors and aromas, are used in vapes, concentrates, edibles, beer, essential oils, fragrances, cosmetics, topicals, tinctures, alcohol, food and beverage, personal care, and more. The company works with internationally recognized brands and provides unparalleled cannabis research, innovation, and custom formulations to create products that engage and thrill consumers. ABSTRAX also devotes significant resources to developing the highest terpene standards and best practices in the industry. The company has developed a robust quality management system including Gas Chromatography analysis and molecular distillation of natural ingredients to achieve the highest purity standards. Investigating and ensuring that ingredients used in its own products, and products within its industry, are safe for consumption. The terpene industry is a rapidly growing segment of the global flavor and fragrance market, which is expected to grow to $35 billion by 2024. This market segment includes the cannabis, CBD, skincare, cosmetics, health and wellness, food and beverage industries. For more information, visit

Media Contact:

Stacey Kaszton Jones

La Voz Marketing

213.925.8177 (direct)

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